Congo is setting aside more than 11,000 square miles of rainforest to create a nature reserve designed to protect the endangered bonobo ape.
The Sankuru Reserve, established by the African country’s Ministry of the Environment in collaboration with environmental groups, will help to preserve numbers of the rare animal that is also one of the human race’s closest relatives.
Announcing the reserve, the Congolese Minister of the Environment, Didace Pembe Bokiaga, emphasised that its creation was another step towards the government’s aim of safeguarding 15 per cent if its forest as protected land.
“This increases the total area of protected land in the DRC to 10.47 per cent, bringing us closer to our goal of 15 per cent,” he explained.
“We are proud that the Sankuru Reserve is being created in the framework of community participative conservation…and will be zoned to guarantee the rights of the local population,” the Minister added.
Start-up funding of $50,000 (£25,000) for the project is being provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Associated Press reported, with an additional $100,000 (£50,000) coming from private donors.